Not all of us are going to be making dinner reservations and trading heart-shaped boxes…
Why Getting Dumped May Actually Be a Positive Thing
What was that? Did you just read that title correctly? How is it possible to see the silver lining in what feels like a massive dark cloud? The phone rings and on the other end of the line is the person with whom you just spent a few whirlwind months; head over heels in love, doing all of those sweet couple activities. You held hands in the park, gazed up at the stars, looked into each other’s eyes, sang silly songs in the car, had pet names for each other and had the thought that this was The One. Wedding bells had been ringing in your head from the moment you connected. He/she was the answer to your prayers. Or so you thought.
The voice says those words that many dread hearing. “We need to talk.” Your heart sinks and you swallow hard. The two of you make an arrangement to meet up at your favorite restaurant, where you had your first date, little realizing that it would be the location of your last date as a couple. S/he informs you that they’ve “lost that lovin’ feeling,” and wants to end the relationship.
Scenario #1 Everything inside wants to scream “No!” except there is a kernel of truth that tells you that perhaps this relationship has indeed played itself out. Back and forth your emotions go at the speed of thought. Tears form behind your eyes as you do your best to maintain your composure. The two of you discuss what was good about the relationship and what it was that wouldn’t have made it a good fit for the long term. You hug goodbye and part as friends. Afterward, you call your best friend and get your cry on. She reminds you how wonderful you are and that you will rebound. You make a date to get together to do something fun, healthy and sober.
Scenario #2 You are incredulous. How could he/she do this to you after all you did for him/her? You took care of this person after a night of partying, even calling the boss to say they were too sick to come in to work. Of course, you didn’t divulge that tying one on the previous evening was the cause. You even put up with the family who looked at you like you were from another planet, knowing that you would never be accepted, but were willing to tolerate their judgments of you and everyone else about whom they gossiped. Feeling like a victim, you notice your emotions escalating as well as your voice. The glass of wine in front of you becomes two, or perhaps even three, as you attempt to persuade the person sitting on the other side of the table that a huge mistake is being made. Still steadfast in wanting to put a halt to the relationship, there is an attempt to calm you down, so that you can find some sense of peace about this. It doesn’t work, as you storm out of the restaurant, vowing to get back at this person who was once a trusted confidant. You call your best friend and trash your former partner, and encourage her to agree with your estimation of this person’s character. You set a date to go to your favorite hangout and drown your heartbreak.
Which Is the Likely Choice for You?
As you weigh the options, is there one that feels more self-loving? It would be understandable to have a myriad of emotions surface, running the gamut from sadness to rage. The choice around how to express them is varied as well.
You could internalize the grief and isolate or self-medicate with substances or food.
You could do something self-harming.
You could blame the other person for your pain and for the relationship ending.
You could enter into self-deprecation, telling yourself that you are alone now because you are a loser.
You could engage in revenge sex or rebound romance.
You could close your eyes to your role in the relationship and thus attract the same partner in a different body.
You could remind yourself that you had a rich, full life before this person entered it and you will have one post breakup.
You could see this breakup as a breakthrough; a means of moving on and creating a new normal.
You could reinforce the idea that love is never wasted and that the two of you had crossed paths for a reason.
You could spend more time with friends, involved in activities that perhaps you didn’t have time for while in the relationship.
You could take time to get to know the woman in the mirror as a whole and complete human being with or without a relationship.
You could explore what did and did not work in the relationship and assess what you want in the next one.
You could remind yourself that relationships are not 50/50, but rather 100/100, with each person bringing 100% of who they are to the table.
You could treat yourself the way you would want a significant other to treat you.
Breaking Up Is Hard to Do
There are many breakup methods that reflect people’s attitudes about themselves and their relationships. They include not responding to calls, texts or messages, a slow fade, otherwise known as ghosting, leaving a message or text, sending a Dear John/Jane letter, as well as the modern day social media breakup. This involves changing your relationship status on your Facebook profile before informing your partner. None of these is respectful of the former union and either party.
Unless there is physical danger, in-person breakup is a clean and compassionate way to go, honoring what the two of you had, regardless of the duration of the relationship. It provides an opportunity for closure and for each of you to share, as lovingly as possible, what is on your minds.
One rule of thumb comes from the Boy Scout rules: “Always leave the campground better than you found it.”